Category Archives: Bikes

Pimp my crutches

Dropped by Atlanta Cycling today to visit the guys. The store was slammed and Mike, Matt, and Dave had their hands full. Nonetheless, I took a little time to custom tune my stock crutches.

Dave Campbell wrenching 
Trials rider extraordinaire Dave Campbell 

Trek Batcage, Hello Kitty Edition

Ding, ding. On your left.
Crucial bell. On your left…

Be seen at night. Red blinky.

BURN 24 Recap

I’ve been pretty bummed for the past 2 weeks. I couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything. On Thursday, I got my new light-weight “action” cast, plus a clearance that I could travel and scored a ride to the BURN race with Lisa Rolf. I’d be a spectator for the first time in a long time.

The race was one of the best I’ve ever attended. I’m sure that part of that enjoyment was because I didn’t have to ride and got to go to bed while everyone else faced dementia. But Eddie O puts on a fantastic show. This race has all the drama of a big-budget national race, yet all the comfort of a small local event.

I badly wanted to be a part of the chaos and volunteered at various points throughout the race to get my fix. I’m sure a lot of folks think I’m really considerate and helpful, and if you harbor that illusion, ask me to help you move or paint your house. Yeah, I’m not coming… 

I also started shooting video and quickly became obesessed.  Granted, the camera was a bit pervasive (or invasive, whatever), but the payoff comes later when some really candid footage emerges. And some of that shit is seriously funny.

I need to say thanks to a few folks, without whom I would’ve been a sad lump on the couch this weekend: Lisa Rolf (who is amazing) for her kindness and good conversation, and MotoMark and Dayna for driving me home, feeding me Little Debbies, and doodling on my toenails while I slept in the car.

Huge congrats to the Atlanta folks and the Blackwater Bike Shop teams for their top finishes, as well as the Middle Ring Mafia for their win in the men’s category. Namrita also took the women’s solo on a single speed. Thanks to Eddie for letting me hang, to Mark Hendershot for signing my cast after his win, and Matt B, who provided the delicious homebrews I drank for breakfast on Sunday.

Finally, the real reason I spent 10 hours in the car was to go up and see my wife Jen, who cracks me up, and to watch her race with the Lynchburg crew: Kelly, Davey, Mike, Julie, Robbie, Sean, Stacy, Jason, Kat, and Frank. Ironically, I was with most of these folks when I actually broke my ankle.  The Blackwater Bike Shop gang are great people and they really know how to have fun on the road. We’ve been to Utah, Myrtle Beach, and now Wilkesboro in the last 4 months, and they’ve taught Jen and I quite a bit about how to relax and enjoy ourselves. 

Video will follow when I can get through the 2 hours or so of footage. I also honed some mad crutch skills I’ll be demo’ing at a cubicle near you…

No Mr. Ranger, that is not my beer. Or dog.

working registration at the BURN race
Virginal white cast, the color of Jessica Simpson’s teeth.

Julie (and Zeus), Jen, Dayna, Kelly, Stacy

Lil Chub II saw no action…

24 Hours of Conyers Wrapup?

I’m waiting on a call from Eddie O to see how the Granny Gear 24 Hours of Conyers turned out. It looks like Josh Tostado from Breckinridge, CO (Giant Bicycles) held on for the men’s solo win.

I was hoping to make it out there but am still not ambulatory. Just like last year, GG  appears to have had a very small attendance. It doesn’t look like there were more than 27 total solos + teams for the race. One big reason is because GG scheduled on top of the 12 Hours of Tsali again this year. Tsali is a very popular course and a very popular race, not to mention being a fraction of the cost of GG.

The feud between GG and 24 Hours of Adrenalin (Twenty4Sports) has actually translated into a rift at the local level. Southeast riders are divided into the camps of those that love GG/hate 24HOA and those that don’t understand/don’t care about the feud and want to race as they please. I’m not suggesting that the GG camp doesn’t have legitimate gripes. The problem is that the rift has both diminished the number of racers available to attend either race and decimated both races.

It started when Laird of GG sued Stuart of 24HOA (then TriLife) for copyright infringement. Ironically, Laird then decided to hold a race in Atlanta, a market that Stuart built, on the same course that 24HOA has been running since 1999.  To me, the move looked predatory and monopolistic. I’d kept quiet for over a year, and then in a moment of post-race fatigue and crankiness, I chimed in on a SORBA forum thread.

The argument goes back and forth about MTB becoming too commercial, not grassroots enought, etc. I look at GG and 24HOA as coke and pepsi. You can’t tell me that one promoter is better for the sport or more grassroots than the other. They’re both big entities and they both put on big production races. I think they’re both good for the sport.

People want to go to those big events at least once a year. They’re absolute freakshows in the best ways. They’re huge productions and they draw out the big stars. The big events raise the profile of the sport and raise awareness for new participants. They also bring in the kind of sponsors and media coverage that will (hopefully) allow some riders to make their living as professional racers.

You wouldn’t want to do a big race like that all the time though. It’s just too expensive, and all the production value does cut into the pure riding experience a bit. The small local races are perfect for getting out and racing affordably. They’re especially great for doing your first race in front of an undiluted home crowd. I would even argue that a lot of time their product is better. They have 6, 12, and 24 options to suit all comers. And because they don’t draw a ton of pros, they give the locals a chance to get on the podium.  Still, they’ve had their problems with scoring, inconsistent rules, etc. But again, it’s mostly a collegial crowd, and winning/losing is never a life or death matter at a local race.

At any rate, GG has had disappointing turnouts both years at Conyers, and 24HOA hasn’t broken 800 riders since 2003. Between the boycott of 24HOA and riders having to choose between GG and Tsali, it’s looking less and less profitable to hold a 24 Hour race in Atlanta.

And that’s really too bad, because this market defined endurance racing in the southeast. I really hope that attendance picks up in the coming years.

Ft. Yargo Recap

After selling my Civic (sniff sniff) I headed out to Yargo to see my friends race. Eddie and Namrita were racing a duo, with Nam racing her single speed. Paul Gazmararian was actually out on a unicycle team, as unbelievably sick as that sounds. Rob and Aimee Murphy both podiumed in the 6 hour solo category.  Kate Cook was gone by the time I got there, but I understand that Kate and Aimee took 1 and 2 in the 6 hour solo. Allison Lowery had to pull out after hour 7 in the 12 hour solo due to a food problem (most likely overeating), but I’m told she did excellent up to that point. Linda Demma and Grace finished strong. Fear the Sorellas…

I have to admit the biggest reason for driving out to Yargo was to see my buddy Andrew Gilchrist race. Whether its racing with Andrew or watching him race, he’s one of the people that inspires me and reminds me why I love this sport so much. Try asking him why he would want to do something like a 12 or 24 hour mountain bike race, he’ll reply “because I can.” Damn fine answer.

Last year at Yargo, Andrew was in 4th place with 2 hours to go. On the last lap, he left everything out on the course and finished second place only to former world champion Tinker Juarez. Probably my favorite race of all time, and I’m proud to say I was the guy who handed Andrew a Red Bull before that last lap.

By the time I got out to Yargo, Eddie was already out on the course burning it up. He and Nam won the duo category quite handily.

Scott Hodge, owner of Addictive Cycles, was having knee problems throughout the race. His knee was ballooning pretty badly, and by the time I caught up with him he was in a lot of pain. Nonetheless, he had a phenomenal race. Besides being just about the nicest guy in the Atlanta riding community, Hodge is one of the fastest XC riders out there. He has a Superman tattoo on the back of his calf, which I’ve seen many, many times, right before he disappears in front of me.

Shey Linder, fresh from a 4th place at the Cohutta 100, was putting distance on any contenders. On a single lap, he added about 10 minutes to his cushion over 2nd place. Shey’s one of those guys you might never hear about even if you spend years in the mtb community. He’s very reserved and modest. He just rides his bike really, really fast.

Artur Sagat was in command of second and rode himself into the ground to keep his place.  I’ve known artur since he was 14 or 15 and watched him race with the Bike Town wrecking crew that included his brother David, Adam and Zach Kovaley, Christian Fontaine, and Jessica Thomas.

In the men’s expert 12 hour solo category, it was Shey 1st, Artur 2nd, and Andrew 4th.

Finally, the entire Lindner family ended up on the podium. Kari, racing with her and Shey’s sons, pulled off a 3rd place in the extremely competitive 4 person relay. They came within 17 minutes of the ridiculously fast Mean Bean/Sunshine first place team.

Full results (PDF)

R to L: Hodge, Eddie O, and Andrew

“It worked last year…” Andrew slams his signature Red Bull before his last lap.

Andrew, Shey, and Artur Sagat on the podium
Shey Linder and Andrew Gilchrist on the podium.

Kari Lindner awards her sons their medals

What do cyclists do when they can’t cycle?

My inability to ride due to injury leaves an unbearable amount of free time. Do any cyclists out there remember what it was like to have time to read, cook, watch television? It just doesn’t happen when the weather’s nice and you’re healthy… 

Some friends actually invited me to an invite-only clinic up at Free-Flite to see Chris Eatough speak. I don’t think I had any questions, I think I really just wanted to bask in the glow of people who can actually ride bikes right now. I hadn’t seen any of the local endurance crowd since I had the amazing experience of racing near Eatough at the 24 Hour World’s back in October.

It sounded as if the clinic was falling through; in any case, I found out that they were hosting it at Free-Flite in Marietta. No way I was driving that far north in rush hour, even if Gandhi was going to give the keynote speech.

Chris just returned from Sea Otter, where Grippped Films hosted the premiere of it’s latest documentary. I’d ordered my copy of ’24 Solo’ the other day, and ended up having a long conversation with Ken Bell, one of the filmmakers. What a great guy Ken is. The riding community is full of people like Ken who only wish to share in your stories as well as tell their own.

The new trailer for 24-Solo is up, and pre-orders of the movie are shipping this week.  You can’t even buy a crap cassette for $25, so ‘24 Solo’ on DVD is a bargain at twice the price.